While proactive vehicle maintenance is always a plus, there are few components where this is more true than with your muffler. Waiting too long to get your muffler serviced will mean costly repair bills, and often a small problem will easily turn into a much larger one.
However, few drivers actively ignore a muffler issue. More likely, it's just hard to tell that something is wrong under your car. To ensure you know exactly when you should come in to your nearest auto repair shop, here are three of the biggest warning signs of a muffler problem:
1. Loud noises
The most obvious sign is a drastic change in the volume of your muffler. When working properly, the muffler should operate quietly in the background. When something goes wrong, it becomes a roaring monster. These loud noises are often telltale signs that you should have your exhaust system checked out by a mechanic.
"A loud exhaust is a telltale sign of a muffler problem."
2. Lower MPG
A well-tuned exhaust system has a number of benefits, with one being better fuel economy. So, pay attention to how often you head over to the pump. More trips than usual could mean your vehicle has a problem. Another helpful way to tell is if you have a newer model that tracks fuel economy on the dash. This will help you monitor month-over-month performance and catch a problem before it becomes serious.
3. Bad smells
The third, and one of the most dangerous, problems with an exhaust system is a bad smell. When working, your muffler will funnel exhaust fumes outside and away from the vehicle. If there is a leak or other problem, those fumes could be stuck inside your car. This is the most dangerous problem because exhaust fumes can be fatal over time. If you smell anything out of place, make sure you bring it in to a mechanic as soon as possible.
Your exhaust system is one of those components that is most effective when it is neither seen nor heard. Unfortunately, this can also mean that it is out of sight and out of mind. When it comes to your muffler, don't overlook any possible maintenance. Waiting can drastically increase your repair bill. Instead, keep an eye out for these three warning signs and give your local auto repair shop a call.